Doğa Derneği in the UK!

As I write this I am still bemused and frustrated by the apathy of our UK and nearby European governments who are seemingly prepared to turn a blind eye to the disaster that is currently being allowed to go ahead in Turkey. Dr. Çağan Şekercioğlu (Professor of conservation biology, ecology and ornithology at the University of Utah Department of Biolog; he is also the director of the Turkish NGO KuzeyDoğa) informs that there have been a total of 468 bird species – including migrants – recorded in Turkey. With 319 out of 556 European breeding bird species (BirdLife International, 2004), including 32 breeding only in Turkey, Turkey has the most breeding bird species of any European country—as well as the highest number of bird species threatened in Europe (148 of 226). At the global level, Turkey hosts three Critically Endangered, three Endangered, eight Vulnerable, and 17 Near Threatened bird species (IUCN, 2011). Of these, slender-billed curlew (Numenius tenuirostris) and Houbara bustard (Chlamydotis undulata) are considered extinct in Turkey. At the country level, an additional 23 bird species are Critically Endangered, 26 are Endangered, 51 are Vulnerable, and 15 are Near Threatened (Kılıç and Eken, 2004).. (More information here: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2011/12/31/turkeys-globally-important-biodiversity-in-crisis/ )

These are worrying figures indeed; given the significance of many species found within Turkey, if these declines are not halted then there will be disastrous biodiversity impact on a global scale.

The main threat to Turkey’s biodiversity is of course the horrendous large scale projects to create nearly 4,000 Hydroelectric Power Plants and Dams. We have talked about these on Talking Naturally before, both in the podcast highlighting the citizen led campaign ‘The Great March of Anatolia’ and in my regular updates relating to my ‘giving my right arm‘ project.

I have offered my services as a volunteer to BirdLife International’s partner in Turkey Doğa Derneği; and they have taken me up on the offer. I am now Doğa Derneği’s official UK based volunteer, a position that I aim to take very seriously. A year ago I had never heard of this organisation; now I have tattoos permanently on my skin that have been created to raise money and awareness of this Turkish NGO and the work they do and I am prepared to give as much of my time as is possible. This is going to be a challenge for me; especially given the language barrier; though my first challenge is to learn their language! One thing is sure, I will give it my best.

A question I often get asked is ‘why Turkey, what’s so special?’ This is a question that has many answers. My trip to Turkey in May last year was one of those eye-opening and enlightening moments in my life. It may be cliched to say ‘it changed my life’, but its true – it really did!

Turkey is the most beautiful country I have ever visited, the scenery is breathtaking, the biodiversity is incredible and the people are amazing. I was heartbroken when I heard of the current and imminent destruction of this beautiful country and it’s micro-cultures; and was completely puzzled to fathom how this was going to be allowed to happen. This is when I knew I HAD to do something to help. My ‘Giving my Right Arm’ project was launched. This obviously gave me my first contact with Doğa Derneği, an NGO that I have massive respect and admiration for. I love their care, passion, respect and philosophy. Their recent conservation conference was entitled ‘Bird Conservation without Borders’: this title alone spoke volumes to me!

I am so pleased to be in some way part of this organisation, and I hope that the UK-based support and awareness that I plan to bring to them will help them in their many challenges to come

 

Ben bu satırları yazarken hala şaşkın ve ilgisizlik İngiltere ve görünüşte, şu anda Türkiye’nin önde gitmek için izin verilmesi bir felakete gözlerini açmak için hazırlanan yakındaki Avrupa hükümetleri tarafından hayal kırıklığına duyuyorum. Dr Çağan Şekercioğlu (koruma biyolojisi, ekolojisi ve Utah biolog Bölümü Üniversitesi ornitoloji Profesör, o da Türk sivil toplum kuruluşu KuzeyDoğa direktörü) – Göçmenler de dahil olmak üzere kaydedilen toplam 468 kuş türü var olduğunu bildirir Türkiye. Sadece Türkiye’de 32 üreme de dahil olmak üzere 556 Avrupa damızlık kuş türleri (BirdLife International, 2004), 319 ile, Türkiye’nin Avrupa’daki tehdit altında bulunan kuş türlerinin herhangi bir Avrupa ülke olarak hem de en yüksek sayı en damızlık kuş türleri (148 226). Küresel düzeyde, Türkiye’nin üç kritik tehlike altında, üç Tehlikede, sekiz Savunmasız ve 17 civarında Tehdit kuş türleri (IUCN, 2011) ev sahipliği yapıyor. Bunlardan, ince gagalı Kocagöz (Numenius tenuirostris) ve Houbara toy (Chlamydotis undulata) Türkiye’de soyu tükenmiş olarak kabul edilir. Ülke düzeyinde, ek bir 23 kuş türü kritik tehlike altında, 26 tehlike altındadır, 51 Savunmasız, ve 15 civarında (Kılıç ve Eken, 2004) Tehdit .. (Daha fazla bilgi burada: )

Bu gerçekten endişe verici rakamlar, Türkiye içinde bulunan birçok türün önemini göz önüne alındığında, eğer bu düşüşler durdurulmuş değildir, küresel ölçekte felaket biyolojik çeşitliliğin etkisi olacaktır.

Türkiye’nin biyolojik çeşitlilik ana tehdit yaklaşık 4.000 Hidroelektrik Santraller ve Barajlar oluşturmak için elbette korkunç büyük ölçekli projeler. İkimiz de vatandaşı kampanyası ‘Büyük Anadolu Mart’ ve benim düzenli güncellemeler projesi ‘sağ kolum’ ile ilgili açtı vurgulayarak podcast Doğal önce Talking bu konuda konuştuk.

, Türkiye Doğa Derneği, BirdLife International ortağı için gönüllü olarak hizmet sunduğu ve onlar bana teklif almış. Şimdi, Doğa Derneği resmi İngiltere merkezli bir gönüllü, ben çok ciddiye alıyoruz amacı bir konumda. Bir yıl önce bu örgütün hiç duymadım; şimdi para ve bu Türk sivil toplum kuruluşu bilincini yükseltmek ve yaptıkları iş için yaratılmıştır var ve benim zaman kadar vermeye hazırım benim ciltte kalıcı dövme var. mümkün. Bu benim için bir sorun olarak devam etmektedir, özellikle dil engeli, benim ilk sorun olmasına rağmen onların dilini öğrenmek için! Kesin olan tek şey, ben elimden gelenin en iyisini verecektir.

Ben sık sık sorulan bir soru, ‘Türkiye, bu kadar özel ne neden?’ Bu çok yanıta sahip bir soru. Mayıs ayında Türkiye’ye konumuna geçen yıl bu göz açma ve aydınlatıcı anları hayatımda biri oldu. Bu, ancak gerçek ‘hayatımı değiştirdi’ demeye klişeleşmiş olabilir – gerçekten mi!

Türkiye, şimdiye kadar ziyaret ettiğiniz en güzel bir ülke olduğunu, manzara nefes kesici, biyolojik çeşitlilik inanılmaz ve şaşırtıcı. Ben bu güzel ülkenin mevcut ve yakın imha duydu ve mikro kültürler üzüldü ve tamamen bu olayın gerçekleşmesine izin verilmesi için nasıl olup bittiğini anlamak şaşırmıştı. Ben yardımcı olmak için bir şeyler yapmak HAD biliyordu. Benim projem ‘Sağ Kol vermek’ başlatıldı. Bu tabii ki benim için büyük bir saygı ve hayranlık olduğunu bir STK ile Doğa Derneği, benim ilk temas verdi. Ben onların bakımı, tutku, saygı ve felsefe seviyorum. Onların son koruma konferansı ‘Sınır Tanımayan Kuş Koruma’ başlıklı idi: sadece bu başlık bana hacimleri konuştu!

Ben, bu organizasyonun bir şekilde parçası olmaktan mutluluk duyuyorum ve ben onlara getirmek için planı, İngiltere tabanlı destek ve bilinçlendirme gelmek için birçok zorluklar içinde onlara yardımcı olacağını umuyoruz..

 

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About the author

I'm a birder and twitcher with a general interest in natural history (dragonflies, butterflies and orchids in particular) but most of all I am a passionate conservationist with a particular affiliation to Turkey. Having worked as a Ranger/Naturalist at a range of nature reserves throught the UK I now work as a freelance ecologist and writer.

9 Comments

  1. Johnny Allan says:

    And half the world’s mammals are under threat Trist. Let’s face it, the planet’s environment and biodiversity is being wiped out by the proliferation of mankind. I have come to believe that nothing will be done to reverse this situation. Only today, I heard that the African Lion is under threat ! Sadly, the birds and other wildlife in Turkey will decline (and some vanish), as they are in the UK and most other places on the Earth.

  2. Tristan Reid says:

    I agree with you Johnny in that there are massive declines on many species globally. Some will inevitably become extinct. However I don’t think it has to be this way; people need to step up and stop this destruction in its tracks. We cannot just sit down and accept this as fate. It’s a call to arms; if we don’t act now we will be leaving a very barron planet for those that come after us.

  3. Steve says:

    So who’s going to be the first to stop driving to twitch birds they don’t actually have to see? And who’s going to stop flying to other countries – just to see birds? Who’s going to get a smaller car?, a smaller TV? Or even no TV? Turkish people presumably wish to have access to the ready power that we do and conservation has generally always meant that poorer people in poorer countries should forego what we have. Small wonder no one listens.I’d like to see a few home truths to birders. They don’t even want wind turbines yet will fly all over the world or country, producing lots of unnecessary CO2 for a few ticks. Should birders ‘lead by example’ or throw up their hands and say ‘it’s pointless me making such a gesture’ or should they (and that means US!) do the ‘right thing’??

  4. Tristan Reid says:

    Steve, this has been something I have pondered for some time. However by foregoing our birding trips, could this not be counter productive? The key to all of this is education; surely if we can enthuse others to take an interest in wildlife we are halfway to heading in the right direction? I would suggest that moderation is a good way to go; but not abstenance.
    As for the situation in Turkey; the development of HePP’s on such a large scale is not soley to provide electricity for communities that do not have it. With nearly 4,000 HePP’s and dams planned the main purpose would seem to be to make money from selling the service to other countries. This is not just an ecological disaster, but it is a humanitarian disaster also. It is estimated that 2,000,000 villagers will be forced to migrate due to these developments. It is shocking that the changing legal situation in Turkey means that there is no social-economic impact assessments carried out prior to evictions. You only have to be aware of ‘The Great March of Anatolia’ and recent protests at Burdur Lake to see how these developments are not wanted by a significant proportion of the Turkish people.

  5. Charlie says:

    The way I see it (not that anyone is asking) is that we either do SOMETHING or we do NOTHING. Every personal gesture may seem pointless to someone else, but without them it’s ‘business as usual’. They are a positive statement of intent by an individual, and who knows what that one gesture may result in or who or what may be influenced by it.
    I don’t like what the meat industry does to the environment or to animals so I went vegetarian – does that mean I’ll bring down the meat industry? No, but I made a personal decision and that’s important to me. You ask about flying: I gave up my job as airline Cabin Crew partly because of how I felt about the industry and my own carbon footprint. Has that stopped the aviation industry in its tracks? No, of course not, but despite a severe slash in finances I feel better for it. I know very few people who actually make a difference to saving biodiversity on planet, but I know there are vast numbers of people doing small things to help. They add up, and things are changing. Conservation is relatively new, people’s understanding of how our decisions impact the planet is relatively new. We’re all still learning.
    And, Steve, I disagree that conservation impacts poor people by denying them the opportunities we have. It has done in the past (the ‘fencing of land and removal of local people didn’t work and lessons have been learned), but that ethos is going. There are community projects all over the world where local people benefit from conservation and research projects. And not everyone wants to live in a city anyway: conservation is trying to stop the loss of forests to industries like Palm Oil which displaces huge numbers of people. Conservation isn’t just about protecting species it’s about protecting landscape scale habitats which benefits all of us anyway: the value of so-called ‘services’ provided by a rainforest or a huge wetland is incalculable – and wrecking them is going to impact everyone on the planet. We didn’t understand that until recently. Again, we’re learning and more and more of us are trying to do something positive to stop the destruction.
    So, will Tris speaking up for Turkey change things? Who knows, possibly not, but who knows. Is it better than doing nothing? Of course it is. Tris has taken a stand and very few people do that, and it should be applauded IMO. And, yes, you’re right, many people want to live like so many others do in the US, UK, Japan, Korea, etc etc but we can’t live like we do for very much longer and people are realising that. Is Turkey’s drive to develop about it’s poor anyway? No, it’s about short-sighted development opportunities that will benefit very few and impact very many. It’s partly political too. Besides, Turkey makes enough electricity for its own use now, but there is massive leakage of power between producer and consumer, and there is no thought given to fixing that. There is no legislation (or even proper advice) about energy-saving. Air conditioners apparently cause massive spikes in energy use on hot days. People use them of course because it’s hot but not using them wisely will only contribute to more heat and more use, and so it goes on. Yes, by all means point out that there are too many of us – but the reality is that it’s not just about numbers but about how we consume. If we were all vegetarian we could easily feed the world, we wouldn’t be draining major river systems to grow crops, we wouldn’t be burning down the Amazon to produce animal feed. If more of us put a sweater on when it got cold instead of heating our houses so that we could stroll around in a tshirt in winter we wouldn’t need to massively increase our power capacity. If the airline industry was taxed properly and we didn’t think of holidays abroad as a human right, we wouldn’t be thinking about airports in the Thames Estuary.
    So what do we do? Throw our hands up and say ‘It’s everyone else’s fault, I’m going to close my eyes and hope it goes away’ or get on and do something about it, no matter how small, no matter how futile the gesture might seem? I prefer the latter. If we’re going to go down, at least let’s go down fighting,…

  6. Steve says:

    I mainly agree guys. I’m not at all arguing with you. But how many birders actually give a toss? To the extent of doing sdomething that impact on their ‘enjoyment’? Hardly any? Would they rather just jump into the car (with A.C.) or onto the plane, burn the fuel for more ticks. Newer, better optics; newer, better waterproofs, more consumption etc. How about some podcasts about birders taking some small steps instead of justifying what they do as not being the ‘real’ problem, or claiming that changing their behaviour will not make a difference. A year or two without birding out of county or off the patch even. Or is it not THAT important to them? Difficult questions, difficult times.

    Perhaps the BirdFair could be sponsored by an airline as half the stands seem to be promoting global air travel these days?

  7. Charlie says:

    Hi Steve – thanks for commenting again. I like the idea of podcasts like that – if we can find anyone prepared to do it, I’d certainly want to chat with them. And it’s worth noting that Bo Boelens in the latest Conference Calls – which I’m editing this week – does make much the same suggestions as you when I ask whether twitching will still be viable in 2012: different reasons (my question was related to cost) but same end effect…
    Cheers

  8. Ali says:

    Nasilsin Tristran abi?

    Been keen to join Doga Dernegi for a while. Regular Turkey visitor (Turkish wife and family) If you have some info for UK members drop me a line pls? Be interesting to chat about Turkey anyway.

    Cheers

    Ali

  9. Tristan Reid says:

    Hi Ali,

    Many thanks for your message. It is great that you are keen to support DD. I will email you privately about this in the new year.

    Regards
    Tristan

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